A taste of Texas: Sherman winery hopes to highlight Texas wines

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
A new winery in the 200 block of Walnut Street plans to showcase the flavors of Texas wines in Sherman

A new winery hopes to bring tastes from across Texas to downtown Sherman. Representatives with Rio to Red Winery announced plans recently to open up a winery that will showcase Texas-made wines while allowing for some on-site production.

The winery comes as Texas has increased its profile in the wine industry and has offered an alternative to the well-known varieties that come from the west coast.

"The idea is to be able to offer wines from across Texas," Owner Mont Taylor said. "I graduated from the viticulture and enology program here at Grayson College and there are a lot of ideas from there we can work with."

This month, Taylor presented plans and a permit request for the winery, to be located at 212 N. Walnut Street, to the Sherman Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission ultimately approved the request unanimously, setting the stage for it to move forward to the Sherman City Council.

The new winery will feature a 346-square-foot tasting room which will feature varieties from across the state. The back end of the building will feature a 809-square-foot production space where employees will be able to blend different varieties of wine together.

Over time, Taylor hopes to expand into producing his own varieties on site.

Right now we have to bring our grapes in from elsewhere," he said. "The plan is to eventually get to where ... the grapes are coming in to be aged and bottled here in Sherman."

Taylor has had a long interest in alcohol brewing that extends beyond just winemaking. Prior to the winery, he said has had an interest in craft brewing and does own beer brewing from home. In 2019, he graduated with an associate degree in the alcohol production field from Grayson College.

The new winery represents an increase in the profile of the wine and brewing industries in both Texas and regionally. The Texas industry made a step forward in 2019 when it became the fifth largest producer of wine, behind California, Oregon, Washington and New York. The state has several areas that are designated as American Viticultural Areas, including the high plains near Lubbock and the Texas Hill Country.

Locally, Texoma has a long connection with enology and the winemaking craft dating back to the days of TV Munson, a Denison horticulturalist who is credited for his work in saving much of the European grape stock in the 19th century from a blight.

What separates Texas from the other producers is the grape varieties that prefer the warmer weather of Texas. Rather than using traditional French grape stock. Instead, Texas winemakers have used varieties from other countries, Taylor said.

"In turns out that there are a lot of varieties of Spanish and Italian grapes that grow well in the hotter climates," he said. "So, it is more along the lines that the lines that might not be as familiar to some that actually grow better here."

Taylor said the tasting room will likely be open some time in June, with the production side opening at a later date.